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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Putin pledges $860b to modernise military

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said today that the government had pledged $860 billion through 2020 to modernise and re-arm Russia's military.
Russia's armed forces have demanded an increase in spending to modernise ageing infrastructure and weapons systems after years of insufficient funding, which undermined performance in local conflicts after the break-up of the Soviet Union.
"We are allocating very serious, significant funds for the rearmament programme. I am even scared to pronounce this figure, 20 trillion roubles," Putin told government ministers and top military officers.
"We need to finally overcome consequences of those years when army and navy were seriously underfinanced," Putin said at the navy shipyard SevMash in the northern town of Severodvinsk on the White Sea.
Putin said the modernisation programme will focus on strategic nuclear forces, air-defence systems, communication, intelligence, a fifth generation fighter plane and on the navy, which would receive about 4.7 trillion roubles.
Russia has been struggling for years to reform its armed forces, dogged by low morale and poor living conditions since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. 

While Russia crushed Georgia in a five-day war in 2008, the short conflict exposed technical problems and ageing equipment.
Putin also launched the dock trial of Russia's second Borei class nuclear submarine, the Alexander Nevsky, designed to carry Russia's Bulava intercontinental missile.
Russia is completing the construction of three Borei-class nuclear submarines.
The first one, Yuri Dolgorikiy, is already undergoing sea trials, and is expected to go into service in the first half of 2011, said Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov. 
New weapons
The project is the most ambitious in the Russian fleet's post-Soviet history, but has been hampered by development of the Bulava missile, which the Kremlin hopes to make the cornerstone of its nuclear missile programme.
The Bulava has suffered seven unsuccessful tests out of 14 trials.
Ivanov said 79% of the 20 trillion roubles will go to purchasing new weapons while the rest will go to research and development.
Putin saluted sailors in black coats lined up aboard the submarine and congratulated them on the dock trial launch.
He briefly looked at the open empty silos where Bulava missiles will be eventually installed.
The submarine's chief engineer Alexander Reznikov said the 170-long Alexander Nevsky will be ready in December 2011 but declined to say whether it will be equipped with the expected 16 Bulava missiles by then.
"This is the first post-Soviet order that proceeded according to schedule," Reznikov told reporters.
The construction of the third Borei class submarine Vladimir Monomakh has already started.
The three submarines are named after medieval Slavic kings and are designed to carry a crew of 107 people.
"Our armed forces should be equipped with advanced machines such as this one as soon as possible," Putin said.(source